Merry Mitch-mas: Bears rookie QB delivers win against hapless Browns

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mitchtrubiskysnowangel.jpg

Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky celebrates his touchdown run with a snow angel. (Getty)

The signs hanging from the first row of the stands behind the Bears’ sideline Sunday surely told the story for many bundled-up fans who came for one more look at rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky at Soldier Field.

‘‘All we want for Christmas is a win,’’ a sign at the 10-yard line read.

‘‘In Trubisky we trust,’’ another behind the Bears’ bench read.

Trubisky came through for them with a snow-angel celebration in the end zone after scoring on a four-yard draw to highlight the Bears’ 20-3 victory against the listless Browns on Christmas Eve.

‘‘It was fun to play in the snow,’’ said Trubisky, who was 14-for-23 for 193 yards and carried seven times for 44 yards.

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Beating the Browns isn’t a major accomplishment; every team does it. But making plays with him arm and legs on a wintry day still was meaningful to Trubisky’s development.

The Bears were under pressure to beat the winless Browns in their final home game, and Trubisky delivered. His touchdown run came on a run-pass option in which he recognized the defense and trusted his offensive linemen.

The idea to make a snow angel came from receiver Josh Bellamy. Trubisky originally wanted to hand the ball to center-turned-guard Cody Whitehair and let him spike it.

‘‘But [Whitehair] was in a pile, and then [Bellamy] came over and grabbed me and was like: ‘Snow angel! Snow angel! Snow angel!’ ’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘So I just fell back and kind of did that. It was fun.’’

That Trubisky was planning a celebration in the first place speaks to his growing confidence and the belief his teammates have in him after 11 starts.

‘‘I’m excited to see what he continues to do,’’ running back Benny Cunningham said.

Trubisky not only handled the elements well, but he did so despite the incessant blitzes and pressures Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sent at him. He found Cunningham on well-designed screens for big gains, was poised in the pocket, completed throws on third down and protected the football on a slick day.

And when Trubisky was bad, the Browns were worse. Much worse. Defensive end Myles Garrett’s near pick-six of Trubisky on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage in the second half was only a footnote because defensive end Carl Nassib lined up offside.

Three plays later, Trubisky set up a perfect screen for Cunningham, who gained 40 yards for the Bears’ longest play of the day. Running back Jordan Howard scored his second touchdown of the game on the next play.

Trubisky said targeting Howard on the nullified interception was the right read on his progressions — ‘‘The ball got tipped up; that’s part of the game,’’ he said — but he told his teammates in the ensuing huddle to capitalize on their ‘‘second life.’’

‘‘When you get the second chance, you have to roll with it and get into the end zone,’’ he said.

All of it points to Trubisky’s progress, even if it showed up against his hometown Browns.

Trubisky showed why he was second overall pick in the 2017 draft, and Browns rookie DeShone Kizer showed why he was available in the second round. In his 14th start, Kizer completed 18 of 36 passes for 182 yards with two interceptions and a 41.7 passer rating. He ran for eight yards on three carries.

By throwing for 193 yards, Trubisky (2,015) surpassed Kyle Orton (1,869) for the most passing yards in a season by a Bears rookie.

‘‘It’s not really about individual stats for me,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘It’s about growth and development and getting better each day. I wouldn’t be able to have that without my teammates.’’

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com


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